Digital can printing meets today's beverage demands head-on
Tonejet’s Worldwide Sales manager, Marvin Foreman has been busy supporting the growth of a company on the verge of disrupting the craft beverage market.
“Craft beer is a rapidly growing market and an exciting one to be in. The increased variety of craft drinks being launched shows no sign of slowing, from soft drinks and energy drinks through to ready-to-drink spirit based cocktails and more. - Craft drinks are fast becoming a significant and growing percentage of the overall worldwide beverage market.
With growth, of course, comes competition and larger breweries and drinks companies have taken a keen interest in this market. Some have already diversified their own offerings to capitalise on this trend, and all are looking for creative ways to increase brand/product recognition and most importantly, appeal to the consumer.
Small batch beers have been canned in the USA for some 20 years, and this is undoubtedly on the increase in the UK too. But it isn’t without its barriers. Minimum order levels typically in excess of 150,000, continue to throttle a brewer’s ability to cost effectively grow their business by moving from bottles to cans. Long lead times of 1-2 months and purchasing of excess cans, has also meant that until now, canning craft beverages hasn’t been an option for small to medium sized breweries. New digital can printing technology is addressing these issues, opening-up a whole new world of opportunity.... and not just for smaller breweries.
In fact, with limited edition flavourings or one-off special brews, digital can printing meets today's beverage demands head-on. From a cost perspective alone, digital can printing is roughly 15 times cheaper than the label printing of cans often used as a short term solution to move from bottles to cans. Cans are a better solution for preserving the beverage from light degradation, as well as storage and transportation.
With the inherent nature of digital print and minimum orders of almost one, brewers are now provided with virtually limitless personalisation opportunities. Not only that, but as the technology is capable of printing several batches a day, product time-to-market is decreased too, enabling brewers to respond quickly to seasonal trends or produce and can specials for events or social media campaigns, opening-up new business opportunities.
The ability to digitally print directly onto cans, also opens-up huge opportunities for larger brands/breweries too. They can now cost effectively package their beverages in smaller volumes, with the printing flexibility to version or change the messaging on their cans as required.
By example, a recent Tonejet customer in North America is setting up a contract can printing company, buying in blank cans and printing small run orders for local craft brewers. With no order constraints, even before the system is installed, its order book was full for several months. They are already expecting to invest in a second system to meet demands!”
Beatus Cartons builds Innovation Centre around Roland
Family owned and run Beatus Cartons is a design and manufacture company that produces creative and versatile cartons for a range of products; from counter displays and confectionery boxes to shelf-ready packaging. Specialising in folding cartons, including customer samples and small promotion items, the Wales based business is one of the only companies in the UK to provide this type of packaging on solid board, litho laminated and plastics – all at one facility, by the same team of professionals.
In 2015 the company launched an Innovation Centre which would serve as an environment for existing and potential customers to explore packaging ideas and bring these to life utilising the facilities. The Innovation Centre would allow individuals to work with the company’s packaging specialists to mock-up initial concepts before they were produced as samples.
According to sales director Clive Stinchcombe, the Beatus team quickly realised that having the ability to offer instant prototypes and samples was essential to make the Innovation Centre work properly. “We decided we needed to invest in a device that could produce accurate product samples quickly and easily. We searched the market for a machine with the best performance, quality and customer support and soon enough, our research established Roland DG to be the stand out option.”
In October 2015, to facilitate the impending launch of the Innovation Centre, Stinchcombe and his team purchased a Roland DG VersaUV LEC-540 UV inkjet printer/cutter from Revolution Digital. Printing in CMYK plus white and gloss, the LEC-540 gave the company the ability to print colour-accurate packaging prototypes that were virtually indistinguishable from the finished product. “The LEC-540 was able to create remarkably rich effects including matt and high-gloss finishes across a range of textures and patterns, including the ability to simulate UV varnish and embossing - essential for the packaging market,” says Stinchcombe.
Prior to investing in the Roland DG machine, Beatus Cartons had to print samples onto standard paper, which often did not truly represent the full substrate of colours the customer would eventually receive. With the ability to print realistic prototypes on virtually any substrate, the LEC-540 was the ideal solution to allow customers to proof designs that would eventually be manufactured at larger volumes.
“The LEC-540 gave us the ability to instantly respond to a customer’s need with its integrated print, crease and cut functionality, meaning we could deliver the end-to-end prototype without time-consuming manual intervention. In conjunction with our in-house graphic artist, we were able to work up an initial concept with a customer and then provide them with an accurate sample there and then.
“Customers and potential customers alike are blown away by the ability to spend a few hours in the Innovation Centre working directly with our team and to leave with fully printed and cut prototypes. From the customer’s perspective, these samples can then be used for marketing purposes or exhibitions without the additional costs of full manufacture. From my perspective as a sales director, by printing samples on the exact substrate that we can manufacture in larger volumes, the Roland DG LEC-540 enables us to showcase our services to customers to help secure new business leads.”
Since launching the Innovation Centre in 2015, Stinchcombe and the team has welcomed copious businesses through its doors. This has resulted in new business leads for Beatus Cartons and further strengthened its relationships with existing clients as they work in partnership to achieve innovative and competitive packaging solutions.
“Without the LEC-540, the entire ethos of the Innovation Centre would have failed,” concludes Stinchcombe.
Esko Studio 16 3D packaging design software eliminates the need for physical mock ups
Esko has given 3D packaging design software Studio 16 a new series of tools with the launch of Esko Studio 16, part of the Esko Software Platform 16. Studio is a unique set of tools for 3D packaging design made for all packaging artwork professionals.
The company says that since 2006, Studio has been installed by thousands of packaging professionals, from small design agencies and freelance designers to the largest global brand owners. Studio has helped users produce better packaging designs, whether designers are trying out different ideas and want virtual mockups fast, or prepress operators are checking graphic positioning and reverse print. Creating this artwork for presentations, marketing campaigns or e-commerce is done with the artwork print production data and eliminates the need for separate packaging artwork creation in other software.
"Unlike other solutions, designers and prepress operators don’t have to leave their design tool of choice. They are able to make very advanced 3D design actions within Illustrator - a platform they are very familiar with. Since ten years, Studio has been helping trade shops, converters and brands offer their customers a faster route to market for product design - and it continues to be the worlds’ most powerful and popular packaging 3D design and store visualisation tool,” says Chris Stowe, Esko’s Product manager 3D solutions. “It eliminates the need for physical mock ups and reduces the approval process via instant online collaboration. Ultimately this means the time from design to production is much faster and cost effective. Creating test versions, new promotions and product variations can be designed and visualised at the touch of a button.”
Studio is available in two bundles: Studio Essentials to create cartons, bottles, trays and displays; and Studio Advanced for agencies or departments that need to handle every packaging shape imaginable, including difficult to create realistic flexible bags and shrink sleeves.
“The benefits of Studio encourage designers to experiment with different ideas and allow prepress operators to do quality checks on graphics positioning, reverse print and other production critical elements," adds Stowe. "Users can quickly check finishing effects, create realistic visuals, see more details in pack shots and speed up the production of pack shots. With Studio you are virtually holding the pack in your hands.”
New OKI printers enable retailers to produce on-demand just-in-time promotional labels in-store
OKI has launched a new range of colour printers that gives retailers the power to print a huge variety of vibrant, high-quality materials that will drive footfall into stores, boost revenue and increase average transaction value.
Behind the printers sits the company’s NetTickIT software that manages all the data, processes and compliance that will enable in-store retailers to produce short-run on-demand just-in-time promotional tickets to activate in-store promotions in real time.
The beauty of OKI’s NetTickIT solution is that label printing companies can also adopt the system and supply it to their retail customers under a managed print scheme, thereby closing the loop on short-run just-in-time label production.
NetTickIT manages the design, publishing, production and integration of all product and signage information. This includes product descriptions, prices, barcodes, pictures and ingredients, country of origin, QR codes, marketing messages and brand standards.
The way it works is a retail head office can design promotional offer labels in-house that can be distributed to regional stores through Sendys Explorer, a document management software that enables users to convert documents and distribute or upload to a chosen location, providing greater flexibility to edit, access, print, retrieve and share files. The store manager only has to walk up to the OKI printer in store and authenticate and print promotional materials on demand.
“These advanced printers in OKI’s new colour printer range, with their capacity to print eye- catching, high-definition display materials or sales collateral at the touch of a button give retailers a new ability to react quickly to fast-changing requirements, get ahead of the competition and meet all the intense demands of omni-channel retail,” says Tetsuya Kuri, EMEA Vice President Marketing, OKI Europe Ltd.
SEIC is first in France with Screen Truepress Jet L350UV digital label press
Label print specialist SEIC is the first company in France to invest in a Screen Truepress Jet L350UV digital label press, with inline ABG converter system, to update and expand its existing flexo and digital print service. The new press will be installed at its facility in Les Ulis, just south of Paris.
Part of the EFI Group, SEIC offers a complete design, prepress, print and finishing service, specialising in producing a wide range of bespoke self-adhesive and non-self-adhesive labels for its trade customers.
SEIC decided to invest in the Truepress Jet L350UV label press after trialling several presses. “We have been using an HP 4500 inkjet press for a number of years. The Truepress Jet L350UV is an interesting alternative for us,” says CEO Arnaud Lefébure. “Not only does it enable us to increase our production speeds but it also delivers the high quality print that our customers demand.”
The high 50m/minute running speed of the Truepress Jet L350UV, combined with a printing width of up to 322mm and the ability to print on material from 90 micron to 350 micron, enables it to deliver an output of 16.1sqm/minute.
The press delivers photo-realistic quality, fast job turnarounds and stable output and, combined with advanced colour management technology based on Screen’s EQUIOS universal workflow, the Truepress Jet L350UV creates smooth, vivid gradations. It uses Screen’s proprietary high-definition UV inks with optional opaque white ink to further boost colour vibrancy while enhancing application versatility by allowing printing on transparent film and metallic foil. The press incorporates single-pass greyscale piezo printheads with a minimum droplet size of 3 picolitres. Printing resolutions of 600 x 600dpi combined with the very small droplet size and the four grey levels, gives sharp, well-defined images and text.
Arnaud is confident the new press will offer many benefits to his company and customers: “We pride ourselves on offering a first class service and with the Truepress Jet L350UV we can now offer our customers digital label printing without loss of speed, quality or reliability on a wider range of media than ever before.”
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